String Cheese Incident’s Michael Kang

by Tyler Blue

Thirty minutes east of S.L.O., the Pozo Saloon has seen a lot of action since its establishment in 1858, but nothing like this Saturday’s meeting of jam band goliaths. Colorado groove gurus String Cheese Incident, following Ratdog, led by Grateful Dead guitarist/vocalist Bob Weir, pay a visit to the Central Coast. Tickets and info can be found at

The past couple of years you’ve focused more on studio projects. What’s your current attitude toward touring? I still love it. When we tour now I want to make the most of it because I don’t think it’s sustainable to do 220 shows every year of your career. You kind of have to go back to the well, find your own creativity, and tour with what you’re psyched about.

You had quite the adventure traveling through Africa recently. What effect has that experience had on your music? Music and dance run so deep in Africa; they’re oozing out of everything. You leave a part of yourself there and it becomes a part of you at the same time. I don’t think your life is ever the same afterward. I definitely got to learn a lot of stuff while I was down there.

What would you say is the biggest difference in String Cheese’s approach to jamming now versus five or 10 years ago? Right now we’re in a phase where we want to get to the next level. I think the new breakthroughs are harder but you’re digging deeper for little musical gems. So, the approach now is to be a lot more discerning about what we want to create musically and getting into some grooves that are not exactly the first things we’d play. Throughout the entire process it’s not always easy, but making good, lasting art is not necessarily the easiest process.

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